Designers Dictionary

Feeling lost when speaking with your designer; like they are speaking another language? With any industry, there is a specific set of terminologies used. This article defines a handful of popular terms and puts them in context, helping you understand the meaning.

 

Tracking
Also known as letter spacing, tracking is the space between each letter of a word, line, or block of text and applies to the whole word, line or block of text.

Example: The tracking is too tight and the letters are on top of each other. Let’s loosen it up so it feels lighter. 

Kerning
Not to be confused with tracking, kerning is adjusting of space between two individual letterforms or characters.

Example: The kerning needs to be fixed in that logo before you do anything else. 

Leading
Commonly known as line spacing, leading is the amount of space between lines of text.

Example: Let’s adjust the leading so the text is easier to read. 

Font
This term, which is often misused, refers specifically to the specific size and weight of a typeface.

Example: The font I’m using here is Georgia Regular 60pt. 

Typeface
A family of fonts are known as a typeface; they often include several weights ranging from light to heavy.

Example: We chose this typeface because it has a lot of options and flexibility when designing. 

Logo
A symbol or mark that represents a business or organization.

Example: The Starbucks logo has evolved over time, yet has always remained recognizable. 

Brand
A brand is the culmination of all your marketing efforts; this includes your logo, color and type, website, print and online materials.

Example: The Coca-Cola brand is so famous—due to the iconic color, script font and unique the unique shape of the bottle—that they can get away without using their logo in an ad and customers would still know that it is an ad for Coca-Cola.

Full Bleed
Full bleed simply means artwork extends to the very edge and there is no border.

Example: Let’s print this full bleed so there isn’t a border.

Pantone
A system for matching colors, used in specifying printing inks.

Example: Our brand color is Pantone 243 C.

CMYK
Also known as process color or four color, CMYK refers to the four inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black).

Example: Are we printing this CMYK or using a Pantone?

RGB
The colors that are used on a computer or screen display are a combination of red, green, and blue.

Example: Is the file setup correctly with RGB values for the website?

Was there a term we missed? Let us know! We will add it to the list and help demystify the design world, one definition at a time.

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